Cave, Nick & The Bad Seed: Let Love In LP

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Let Love In, the eighth studio album by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, was originally released in 1994. Their first full-length studio album in over two years, Let Love In preserves the same line-up (Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Blixa Bargeld, Conway Savage, Martyn Casey and Thomas Wydler) as established on its two immediate predecessors: Henry's Dream (1992), the band's troubled collaboration with producer David Briggs, and Live Seeds (1993), an interim concert compilation.

Producer/engineer and long-time confederate Tony Cohen was reinstated to preside over the sessions, and a veritable "Who's Who" array of Australian guest musicians were called in to lend a hand with the overdubs: former Birthday Party band mate Rowland S. Howard and Beasts of Bourbon singer Tex Perkins lent their backing vocals to "Do You Love Me," as did The Triffids' Dave McComb to "Lay Me Low"; while Warren Ellis makes his (uncharacteristically low profile) debut on a Bad Seeds recording, playing violin alongside Robin Casinader on Mick Harvey's sumptuous string arrangements for "Ain't Gonna Rain Anymore" and "Do You Love Me? Part 2." Cohen's mania somehow suffuses the entire album with a remarkable sense of presence that heightens the sense of immediacy and urgent intimacy in the songs.

Much of the potency of Let Love In lies purely in the riveting intensity of its songs. The sinister inexorability and explosive dynamics of "Red Right Hand" and "Loverman" make for the album's most climactic moments; but pervading the landscape around those melodramatic peaks is a feeling of yearning vulnerability and aching remorse previously untapped in Cave's lyrics. The songs "Do You Love Me" and its reprise, as well as the title track - even "Thirsty Dog" - all exemplify this tender desperation; but especially "Nobody's Baby Now," which Cave claims he wrote for Johnny Cash. "Rick Rubin asked me to write a song for him. I sat down and wrote that but I liked it too much and didn't send it."

As usual running hard against the grain of pop/rock culture in a year otherwise dominated by grunge, Let Love In nonetheless climbed to #12 on the 1994 UK charts and #8 in Australia, the highest positions occupied by a Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds album up to that point. "There are some really good songs on Let Love In, a bunch of really strong songs," affirms Cave. "We knew what we were going to do when we went into the studio with that record."

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